Pyotr Kiryusha

Born: 1978, Dushanbe (Tajikistan)
Video Art

At the Fruits Falling into Different Orchards project at the Winzavod Contemporary Art Center in Moscow (4-31 July 2008), curator Anna Zaitseva invited several famous Russian artists, including Victor Alimpiev, to create their own exhibitions of young artists. Selecting works for Halt! Who Goes There? Alimpiev’s choice fell on Pyotr Kiryusha, whose watercolours, he believed, deserved an exhibition.

Small in size and painted on paper, Pyotr Kiryusha’s works depicted such various heraldic motifs as coats of arms, flags and suits of armour. The artist later confessed that he had chosen the subjects quite by chance – not that their subject-matter was so important for Victor Alimpiev, who saw something completely different in Kiryusha’s watercolours, something important to him and close to his heart. He saw painterliness, artisticity and the potential for work in a large format.

Pyotr Kiryusha’s pictures should really be called “works on paper,” for it is the paper that creates the incredibly luminescent and impressionistic effect. This relationship with the paper – the guarantee of brightness and luminescence – reflects a new “post-digital” relationship with colour. Kiryusha employs the white colour of the paper like a computer screen, never completely covering it. Applying a special technology which allows him to dilute the gouache without losing the thickness of the paint, he always leaves the lower coats of paint brighter than the following ones.

This computer-screen understanding of colour ushers in a new relationship with the size of the works. The imperative of the white sheet loses its power. In analogy with a computer screen, enlargement becomes a sign of an improvement in quality – or a way to reveal hidden details and meanings, as in Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blow Up.

Unlike the representation of digital nature, super-magnification in the works of Pyotr Kiryusha does not cause damage to the image or the loss of its wholeness, as occurs with the pixel phenomenon. The light does not break out as a result of the image collapsing into local constituents (explaining why it is not deathly white, as on a screen). Kiryusha’s light is warm, multi-coloured and alive. It is the joining substance – the plasma uniting all elements of material life on the micro-level.

Pyotr Kiryusha claims that what paved the way for his non-objective experiments was landscape sketches made from the top floor of a high-rise block of flats in Chertanovo – a profusion of sky and the melting details of the landscape at the bottom, seen through a window. Curiously, thirty years ago, the geometric painting of Alyona Kirtsova – the leading abstractionist of our days – also appeared in Chertanovo and also thanks to a view from a window.

Pyotr Kiryusha’s Afterparty video loop (2012) is the state of mind after a party, when you have already run out of strength and money, but still want to have fun. Afterparty is the current state of the economy, the inevitable recession after an economic boom, when, despite the lack of funds and resources, the desire to cling onto the previous status remains – no matter what. It is the reluctance to admit that tomorrow is already dawning, because yesterday was so fine and carefree. The lights have already been switched on, the speakers are playing an endless repetition of the same song; it is time to go home, to return to reality. But it is impossible to call a halt, to stop inflating the party balloons, to cease mindlessly wasting time and money, because it has already become a habit.

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